ZACK BRUELL
ZACK BRUELL

Zack Bruell

Back in the 1980s, Cleveland's restaurant scene was, let's just say, short on pizzazz and sophistication. Then came Zack Bruell. The godfather of fusion cuisine in these parts, Bruell gave us meat and potatoes, but in a new-fangled way.

Since those early days, he's introduced one winner after another, becoming the only Cleveland chef to have 10 successful restaurants within the city. To top that off, he's got a restaurant-style catering and events company called Zack Bruell Events. And that's just scratching the surface.

When Bruell opened Table 45 inside the Intercontinental Hotel & Conference Center in Midtown in 2007, Esquire magazine dubbed it "one of the most strikingly modern in America." Two years later, he made the "Best New Restaurants" list again with L'Albatros, a brasserie-style gem in University Circle.

Bruell also operates Parallax (Asian inspired) in Tremont, Chinato (Italian) on E. 4th St., Cowell & Hubbard (French) in the theater district and Dynomite Burgers in Progressive Field and Playhouse Square.

More recently, Bruell debuted Exploration (fast casual) inside the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and Alley Cat, a waterfront oyster bar in the Flats East Bank.

A Cleveland native and multi-year James Beard award semi-finalist, Bruell learned classic French cooking techniques at The Restaurant School in Philadelphia, and immersed himself in the emerging California nouvelle trend under famed chef Michael McCarty in Santa Monica.

While Bruell's restaurants vary widely, from French to Italian to burgers, common threads connect the menus. Bruell is known for tweaking age-old classics to local tastes and using ingredients people wouldn't typically cook at home.

So when the menu offers a beet and beef cheek salad, go for it. Sounds kind of weird. Tastes kind of magical.

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